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McFarland v. Associated Brokers: Inspection and Discovery of Leak by Buyer Does Not Protect Licensee From Misrepresentation Claim

December 1, 1998: 

In McFarland v. Associated Brokers, a case involving a leaking roof, the buyer claimed that the listing broker knowingly concealed the extent of the problem. In this case, Bruce McFarland (the “Buyer”) bought a home listed by Associated Brokers (the “Listing Broker”). According to the decision, he was “assisted” in the purchase by another brokerage (the “Selling Broker”); there is no specific mention of whether the Selling Broker represented him or was acting as a subagent.

Rodriguez v. 551 West 157th Street Owners Corp.: Residential Landlord’s Refusal to Install Wheelchair Ramp or Lift Does Not Violate FHA

November 1, 1998: 

A recent U.S. District Court case involved the issue of whether a landlord’s refusal to make the entrance of an older apartment building wheelchair-accessible was unlawful in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act (the “FHA”). Rodriguez v. 551 West 157th Street Owners Corp. The apartment building in question, located in New York City, was built in 1910.

Franceschi v. Mautner-Glick Corp.: Property Manager’s Collection of Overdue Rent Is Exempt From Requirements of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

November 1, 1998: 

In 1998 U.S. District Court case, Franceschi v. Mautner-Glick Corp., involved claims that a property manager and the property owner violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”) when attempting to collect overdue rent. The purpose of the FDCPA is to protect consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices, and it regulates collections made by third parties, such as attorneys, on behalf of another.

Deckert v. Foster: Favorable Ruling for Licensees in Disclosure Case

November 1, 1998: 

A couple bought a new house from the contractor. The lot had a steep slope, and to control drainage and erosion, the contractor had built terraces and retaining walls and had contoured the site to direct drainage away from the house. The property had been listed with a real estate brokerage firm, and two of its sales associates (the “Sales Associates”) handled the sale. Subsequent to the closing, the drainage system failed and the buyers experienced excessive rainwater runoff and erosion problems.

Padgett v. City of Moultrie: Commercial Broker’s Lien Upheld by Georgia Court

October 1, 1998: 

In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeals of Georgia upheld the validity of a commercial broker’s lien under the Georgia Commercial Real Estate Broker Lien Act. Padgett v. City of Moultrie. In this case, a commercial real estate broker (the “Broker”), had entered into an agreement with Cambridge Health Care, Inc. (“Cambridge”) to provide services in connection with its purchase of a property in the City of Moultrie for conversion into a health care facility.

Lesniak v. Caulder: North Carolina Court Rules in Broker’s Favor, Citing Lack of Damages

September 1, 1998: 

Note: This case has not been included in an official reporter and may not be cited as legal authority. Consult with counsel before relying on this decision.

An unreported case decision from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, is a very favorable decision for the real estate licensee, but another court addressing similar issues might not reach the same conclusion.

Wells v. Poland: Neither Broker nor Property Owner Liable for Trespassers’ Injuries

September 1, 1998: 

This 1998 case out of Maryland involved a beach house in Ocean City, Maryland owned by David Polland. Polland had not seen the house in several years but was aware that it was in disrepair and had received notices from the city’s Code Enforcement Office about its dangerous condition. A Code Enforcement officer had put yellow "caution" tape across the front stairs of the house, which were deemed unsound, and had placed a sign on the house indicating that it was uninhabitable.

Empire Lumber Company v. Thermal-Dynamic Towers, Inc.: Negligent Tenant Is Liable for Fire Damage

September 1, 1998: 

A recent decision from the Supreme Court of Idaho involved the liability of a tenant for fire damage. Empire Lumber Company v. Thermal-Dynamic Towers, Inc. Empire Lumber Company owned a 32,000 square foot warehouse located in Post Falls, Idaho. It leased over a third of the space to Thermal-Dynamic Towers (“TDT”) for a short time while TDT was in the process of constructing its own facility. At the expiration of the initial term, the lease continued on a month-to-month basis.

New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, Inc. v. NEWMLS: MLS Dispute in New Jersey

September 1, 1998: 

In August 1998, the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (“NJMLS”) filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division - Bergen County, against NEWMLS, doing business as the Garden State Multiple Listing Service (“GSMLS”) and the real estate brokerage firms which own GSMLS. NJMLS is owned by the Eastern Bergen County Board of REALTORS®, Inc. and the West Bergen Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

Owen Wagener & Co. v. U.S. Bank: Broker Cannot Recover Commission From Bank in Foreclosure Situation

September 1, 1998: 

A recent Appellate Court of Illinois decision highlights important issues for brokers involved in foreclosure situations. Wagener v. U.S. Bank. In this case, Lewis Kaplan (the “Owner”) owned property located in Crestwood, Illinois. He fell behind on his mortgage payments to U.S. Bank (the “Bank”) and it began foreclosure proceedings. The Owner decided to sell the property, and in June, 1994, he entered into a listing agreement with Owen Wagener & Co. (the “Broker”), a real estate brokerage.